Neal McCoy

Neal McCoy performs in September 2018 at the East Texas Angel Network concert at the Belcher Center in Longview.

From staff reports

Seats are still available for Saturday’s 27th Annual Neal McCoy and Friends Benefit Concert in Longview.

Two-time Grammy nominee and county music star Jo Dee Messina is set to join Longview’s Neal McCoy as part of the lineup at LeTourneau University’s Belcher Center.

The concert benefits The East Texas Angel Network, which is a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 by McCoy and his wife, Melinda, to financially assist families who have children with serious illnesses and/or disabilities.

Messina visited the fundraiser’s sponsor dinner in 2013, but this will be her first year to perform as part of the concert.

Tickets can be purchased through the Belcher Center website and at easttexasangelnetwork.com/events/ .

Doors open at 6 p.m., and the concert begins at 7.

The annual fall fundraiser includes a golf tournament, sponsor dinner, the concert and a meet and greet for the “angels” who benefit from the fundraiser and their families.

The golf tournament scheduled for today at Wood Hollow Golf Club is sold out.

A modified version of the network’s annual events were offered in 2020 because of COVID-19 as the concert was held as a virtual event.

An online livestream of the event again will be offered for free, with donations accepted, at easttexasangelnetwork.com, the East Texas Angel Network Facebook page and nealmccoy.com .

“We did (the virtual concert) last year because we had to do it, and we just realized, ‘Why don’t we continue to do that because we raised so much money?’ ” East Texas Angel Network Executive Director Miki Dougherty, who is also McCoy’s daughter, said previously. “And people who live far away and can’t attend the concert really enjoyed it, so we thought why not.”

Dougherty said the Angel Network will offer a way to make donations during the concert similar to last year’s event.

While the network doesn’t pay medical bills, it assists families by helping to pay housing bills, utility bills and other secondary expenses that tend to escalate as parents leave their jobs to be near their ailing children. Since its creation, the network has raised more than $10 million and helped more than 600 families.

The annual concert and other weekend activities raise money that sustains the network through the year until the next concert. McCoy, who has recently been known for his live Facebook videos of the Pledge of Allegiance, has been joined at past concerts by artists such as Tracy Byrd, Randy Travis, Restless Heart and his mentor, Charley Pride.

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